Established in 1990 as a partnership among the USDA Forest Service, the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and The University of Vermont (UVM), the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC) facilitates collaboration among federal, state, nonprofit, professional and academic institutions for longterm monitoring of forested ecosystems across the region and an improved understanding of forest ecosystems in light of the many threats they face.
Forest ecosystems are complex entities supporting many organisms and providing a wealth of ecosystem services. Because a healthy forest system is also dynamic in response to natural climate variability, disturbances and succession, long-term monitoring is necessary in order to distinguish normal year to year variability from emergent forest health issues or subtle changes indicative of chronic stress.
Driven by its mission to aggregate the information necessary to monitor forest health, detect chronic or emergent forest health issues and assess their impacts on forested ecosystems, the FEMC staff have expanded its long-term monitoring and reporting to encompass the larger region, including Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Building on its experience developing monitoring reports for the Vermont (see the 2016 Vermont report at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/products/long_term_update/2016/vermont) FEMC staff have brought in additional data on an initial subset of reignoal monitoring programs to expand the focus of its work and provide more insight into trends in ecosystem processes at a larger scale. This Regional Monitoring Update offers a sampling of three key long-term data sets that represents the basic structure, condition and function of the forested ecosystem. Our goal is to include both a summary of the latest year’s data on key forest, wildlife, water, and air quality metrics, along with an analysis of the longterm patterns and trends in the data in order to provide a relevant and timely source of information on the current state of the region’s forested ecosystems. This allows us to quantify metrics collected in 2016 in the context of long-term monitoring datasets.
The information in this Regional Monitoring Update is intended to be a snapshot of the larger body of monitoring and research that has been amassed over time, and which is growing daily. As an organization, FEMC believes that the regular analysis and reporting of such information is critical to identify emerging forest health issues, as well as understand the drivers and impacts of ecosystem change.